Walmart earnings soar as online shopping boosts profit, sends stock to new record

Julia La Roche
·Correspondent

Walmart (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings results on Tuesday, bolstered by online sales from consumers spending more time at home.

Here were the main numbers compared to Bloomberg consensus forecasts:

  • Revenue: $134.7 billion vs. expectations of $132.42 billion

  • Adjusted EPS: $1.34 vs. expectations of $1.18

  • Walmart U.S. comp-store sales (excluding gas): 6.4% vs. expectations of 3.3%

  • Walmart U.S. e-commerce sales: up 79%

“This was another strong quarter on the top and bottom line,” CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “We think these new customer behaviors will largely persist, and we’re well-positioned to serve customers with the value and experience they’re looking for.”

Walmart saw its total revenue growth 5.2% from the year-ago period to $134.7 billion, while adjusted earnings per share climbed 15.5% from a year ago to $1.34.

The e-commerce trend that’s come to define the COVID-19 era continued to provide a boost to the big-box retailer — and are largely expected to continue as new infections skyrocket, threatening new lockdowns for the holiday season. E-commerce, which jumped 79% from the same period a year ago, contributed approximately 570 basis points to U.S. comparable sales.

The company’s closely-followed comparable sales in the U.S. jumped 6.4% in the quarter, while comparable transactions dipped 14.2%, offset by comparable tickets growth of 24%. Walmart noted that shoppers “continued to consolidate store shopping trips with significantly larger average baskets and shifted more purchases to eCommerce.”

The general merchandise category posted high-single-digit sales growth, driven by home, electronics, toys, and sporting goods. The company saw “softer results” in back-to-school categories.

Walmart’s grocery category posted mid-single-digit sales growth with “broad-based strength across most categories” and consumables sales growth “led by strength in household chemicals and paper products.”

Walmart’s grocery pickup and delivery posted record-high sales volumes. At the end of the quarter, Walmart offered its online grocery pickup service at 3,600 locations and same-day delivery at approximately 2,900 stores. Walmart operates more than 4,700 stores in the U.S.

Walmart’s stock rose 2.17% in the pre-market, or $3.31, to hit a new all-time high near $156.

Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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